Korean travelers continue to be the top source of tourism expenditure in the Philippines. This is especially true in Cebu, which is touted as one of the favorite Philippine destinations for Koreans along with Boracay. With Hallyu (Korean fever) also catching on in the city, it’s no wonder that Korean coffee shops and restaurants have popped up left and right, adding variety to the dining scene, and competing with homegrown as well as international brands.
One such establishment is Korean coffee chain Tom N Toms Coffee
. Established in 2001 in South Korea, they first sold pretzel and honey-butter bread before setting up a 24-hour operation in Apgujeong Station, Seoul. To date, they have 68 global stores spread across Asia-Pacific, Australia, and the United States.
Check out this video of Toms and Toms Coffee:
Façade of Tom N Toms Coffee, a newly opened Korean coffee chain in Mabolo
Customers go about their activities at the ground floor of Tom N Toms Coffee.
Opened last September 8, Tom N Toms Coffee at The Greenery, Mabolo, Cebu City, is the second Tom N Toms branch in the Philippines, with the first outlet opened in Bacolod last February 2015. The Cebu franchise is owned by J.L. Alba Corporation, the family business behind local brand Alba Uno Hotel.
Cozy chairs at the second floor of Tom N Toms Coffee
The business room at Tom N Toms Coffee
Located right in front of the driveway to The Greenery, Tom N Toms is hard to miss. The coffee shop spans 200 square meters and can seat 150 persons. There is an al fresco dining area for those who want to sip their cup of joe while watching the flow of traffic pass by. Inside, there is a display of merchandise for coffee lovers, ranging from a simple mason jar (PhP250) to a coffee extraction device (PhP2,500) for the hard-core java junkies. On the second floor is a business room which can accommodate 10 to 12 people. The room can be reserved for two to three hours with a minimum purchase of PhP2,000 for corporate meetings and events.
Varied food, unique drinks
The Tom N Toms menu is divided into coffee, beverages, pretzel, and bread. The Cebu store carries 150 food products and over 60 drinks, with about 85% of the products made with Korean ingredients and 15% local ingredients.
Tom N Toms pretzels and bread [L]; Tom N Toms taro smoothie [R]
According to store manager Jouana Farlin Seva, what sets Tom N Toms apart from other coffee shops is their wide variety of drinks which come in unique flavors. Their signature juices and teas, for instance, come in flavors like red ginseng and sweet potato, variants which aren’t usually found in run-of-the-mill coffee shops.
For first-time visitors, Joanna recommends trying one of their best-sellers, the cinnamon café mocha drink (PhP150 to PhP175), which can be taken hot or iced. This drink tastes sweet but not cloying, plus you get the warm, subtle aroma of cinnamon. There’s also their taro smoothie, which the Filipino palate is familiar with owing to the popularity of milk tea. Similar in flavor profile to ube (purple yam), this drink is also on the sweet side and is refreshing to sip especially on a humid day.
Tom N Toms almond pretzel
One of the speciality dishes of Tom N Toms is their pretzels which they make fresh in-house. Diners can order it either in its classic twisted knot shape or spread out like a log stuffed with meat, cheese, and vegetables. Their almond pretzel (PhP140) is made of soy flour, making it soft but chewy. The chopped roasted almonds which dot the pretzel add a nice crunch to this simple snack.
If you want a savory option, they also have pepperoni pretzel (PhP175). One slice alone of this dish holds a lot of pepperoni and cheese. The spice level starts out mellow then becomes stronger over time as you eat it.
Tom N Toms peperoni pretzel
Rounding out their menu is honey butter bread (PhP195), another Korean dessert staple. Like their pretzels, it comes in either sweet or savory variants. Their classic honey butter bread is soft in the center, and slightly crispy on the edges. Big cubes of bread are nestled in between a generous mound of whipped cream on top, and a lattice of honey and melted butter on the bottom. The bread is a great vehicle for sopping up all the sweet goodness from the honey, which is balanced out by the cream.
Honey butter bread
On the other hand, their honey cheese bread (PhP200) is an unexpected combination of sweet and salty. Inside the bread is melted cheese and mozzarella, which surprisingly goes well with the drizzle of clear honey at the bottom of the plate.
Tom N Toms is open 24 hours, always ready to give Koreans a taste of home, while offering something new to Cebuanos.
Prices are subject to change without prior notice.